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Our Past is our Future: We will repeat it if we don't learn from it

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Keywords: Flip Video, Social Studies, American History, Special Needs, Social Skills
Subject(s): Social Skills, Special Needs, Social Studies, History
Grades 8 through 12
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: East County Academy of Learning, Lakeside, CA
Planned By: Katherine McNeil
Original Author: Katherine McNeil, Lakeside
What will be learned and why it is useful:
Students will learn the connection between social history of the United States from 1930s – 1950s by conduction their own interviews with people who lived during that time. As students become actively engaged in the interviewing process, this time period will come alive through this intergenerational exchange. Not only will students gain a first person perspective of this time period of history. They will also have several opportunities for purposeful practice of an agreed list of behaviors needed for their successful transition into the community and job world after graduation. In addition this will be an opportunity for our neighbors to observe students practice community based behavior, which often they do not get to observe when they walk past the school.

(Specify skills/information that will be learned.)
• Become familiar with methods of research and documentation and research
• Deepen their knowledge of the issues and experiences of life in the US from the
1930s to the 1950s
• Develop a greater appreciation for social history by making connections
between everyday experiences and historical topics and events.
• Practice transition based behavioral skills such as listening, reading, writing, and
• Develop the skill of writing interview questions
• Recognize the value of people’s life experiences
• Recognize how interesting it can be to talk with older people. Students will work
in groups of two interviewing and video taping the oral history of volunteers from
the immediate neighborhood.

Materials Needed
• Create questionnaire template
• Others
• Access to the Internet for research

(Give and/or demonstrate necessary information)
Older people, with their firsthand knowledge of the past and their lifetime accumulation of skills, play a vital role in creating, preserving, and passing down cultural traditions from generation to generation. They provide an invaluable link to our past history and they give meaning and direction to our future. Students will develop interview questions and list of transition behaviors students will be working on during the interview process.

(Steps to check for student understanding)
Student groups will meet with teacher once a week for update conference. Students will prepare for conference with teacher once a week. They will bring their research material and question preparations.

Other Resources
(e.g. Web, books, etc.)
The Grand Generation: Interviewing Guide and Questionnaire
Family Folklore Interviewing Guide and Questionnaire
Your Story: A Guided Interview Though Your Personal and Family History
American Memory, Library of Congress
“Using Oral History: The Learning Page, Library of Congress

(Describe the independent activity to reinforce this lesson)
Teacher will guide students in their creation of individual iMovie and critique of behaviors. Students will take video of interview and put it into iMovie to make final movie of each interview. Students will critique their interview and behavior for any needed improvements prior to transition.

Teacher will arrange for students to go into the community to present their oral histories to different groups. Students will be able to demonstrate knowledge gained from their interviews and practice behaviors needed for successful transition into community.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Students will work with the English teacher to construct their questionnaire.
Students with present their iMovies before the school board and the Lakeside Historical Society.
Materials: Flip Video, Tripods, Flash/USB Drives, Social Studies